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View Diary: Origins of English: Some Rare Words (185 comments)

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  •  don't you think that Germans are just lazy (3+ / 0-)
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    Magenta, Anak, Ojibwa

    to create different words and rather take a shortcut and add words together for efficiency? :) /ducking.

    •  No need to duck! ;) (1+ / 0-)
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      The German word for the cord that connects the baby with its mother is "Nabelschnur," navel cord.

      The German word for tooth doctor is "Zahnarzt," tooth doctor.

      The German word for pig meat is "Schweinefleisch," pig meat.

      Makes way more sense to me that to have in English:

      umbilical cord

      What's wrong with making things simpler?

      •  Ooops, please ignore that last sentence. (1+ / 0-)
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        What I meant was English didn't create different words for those three terms because English is somehow more creative. But, because of history, English is more opaque than German. Those three terms are very clear. That's why in German it is very hard to come up with lists of SAT or GRE words. In this way, English could be considered not to be an optimal language (I don't think like that, but, since that is what this subthread is about...)

        •  Definitely true. (1+ / 0-)
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          I mean the obvious one there is pig meat. It's pork because in Norman French that meant pig meat. So the classy people were eating French pig meat, and that's what stuck. Same with beef. Sure, still eating cow meat, but bouef was the classy term.

          Not sure why chicken didn't make that transition, actually.

          And no, they're none of them optimal languages. They are all human and all have their great humanity and along with that the human flaws.

          I wouldn't say that English is more creative, per se. It is willing to give a lot of flexibility that other languages discourage, though, and therefore evolves relatively quickly.

          Even if you go back to America in mid-20th Century, there are quite noticeable differences in speech patterns. Maybe that is true in other languages, but there seems to be more resistance.

          by Magenta on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:31:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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